“Locate the grave of the Mughal prince DaraShikoh”

  • Category
    History
  • Published
    4th Mar, 2020

Context

The Ministry of Culture recently set up a seven-member panel of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to locate the grave of the Mughal prince DaraShikoh (1615-59). 

About:

  • The seven-member panel of ASI is headed by T J Alone, Director-Monument at ASI, the panel has senior archaeologists R S Bisht, Sayeed Jamal Hassan, K N Dikshit, B R Mani, K KMuhammed, Satish Chandra, and B M Pandey as members. 
  • It has been given three months. 
  • There are around 150 graves of the clan of the Mughal rulers in the Humayun’s Tomb complex and the grave of Shikoh is said to be one among them.
  • DaraShikoh is believed to be buried somewhere in the historical monument.
  • The panel will use architectural evidence from that time, and also written history and any other information that can be used as evidence. 

Who was DaraShikoh?

  • Muhammad DaraShikoh was born in 1615 in Ajmer, Rajasthan.
  • The eldest son of Shah Jahan, DaraShikoh is described as a “liberal Muslim” who tried to find commonalities between Hindu and Islamic traditions. 
  • Titles:Dara was designated with the title Padshahzada-i-BuzurgMartaba("Prince of High Rank") and was favoured as a successor by his father and his older sister, Princess Jahanara Begum. 
    • Other titles given to him include- Jalal ul-Kadir, Sultan Muhammad DaraShikoh, Shah-i-BulandIqbal
  • During the lifetime of his mother MumtazMahal (who was buried in the TajMahal after its completion, DaraShikoh betrothed to his half-cousin princess NadiraBanu Begum. 
  • He translated into Persian the Bhagavad Gita as well as 52 Upanishads.
  • Dara believed in the existence of a single divine power, who is called by different names – Brahm or Noor. 
  • He followed the Qadri tradition of Sufism and believed in interfaith dialogues. Benaras and Allahabad played an important role in his spiritual journey. 
  • Dara wrote many treaties, but his two books Majma-ul-Bahrain(The Confluence of Two Seas) and Sirr-e-Akbar (The Greatest Mystery) started a dialogue among the intelligentsia of that time. 
  • Majma-ul-Bahrainwas the first such book to offer a comparative study of Dharma Shastra and Quran to formulate a new vision for society.

How did he die?

  • DaraShikoh was killed in 1659 after losing the war of succession against his brother Aurangzeb. 
  • According to the Shahjahannama, after Aurangzeb defeated DaraShikoh, he brought the latter to Delhi in chains. 

The Shahjahannama is a genre of works written about the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. Most significant work of this genre was written by Inayat Khan (historian). It was written in the 17th century. The first complete English translation from Persian appeared in the 19th century by A. R. Fuller. 

  • His head was cut off and sent to Agra Fort, while his torso was buried in the Humayun’s Tomb complex.
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